Never knowingly undersolved.

Independent 7946 / Eimi

Posted by duncanshiell on April 3rd, 2012


This was a different puzzle from many Independent daily crosswords.  For a start there were 36 clues, significantly more than is usual in a daily blocked crossword.




I thought also that this was well to the easier end of the Independent spectrum and would be a good puzzle for solvers still learning many of the tricks of the setters.  There were very few complex constructions as evidenced by the few clues that I have felt a need to show how the constituent parts fit together. Most of those are fairly simple constructions.   I counted 13 clues that were additive or subtractive, 7 that were container and contents (2 of which also involved taking the first letter of a word in the clue),  5 double definitions, 5 anagrams, 3 hidden wors (one reversed), 1 spoonerism and 2 compounds (where two devices were used in the same clue)

I note that nmsindy described yesterday’s puzzle by Quixote as also being towards the easy easier end of the spectrum. I wonder if the Independent crossword editor (who set today’s puzzle) is aiming to hook new solvers by offering slightly easier puzzles on some days around Easter? Nothing wrong with that if he is. On the other hand he may be lulling us into a false sense of security before he hits us with a series of real humdingers during the Easter period itself.

Having said that, I enjoyed the puzzle.  The surfaces of the clues were convincing.  I liked the clue for APHIS

It was also good to see a puzzle tending to favour the scientists over the classical scholars.

It’s not often we have an entry without vowels – BRRR – that isn’t an abbreviation.  

No. Clue Wordplay Entry
1 Sentimental about Labour leader being wishy-washy (6)

SOPPY (sentimental) containing (about) L (first letter of [leader] LABOUR)


SLOPPY (wishy-washy)
4 Nice rustic landscape originally included (8)

L (first letter of [originally]) contained in (included) PEASANT (rustic [used as a noun])


10 Spooner’s information concerning antacid tablet for bird? (5,4) RENNIE (reference RENNIE‘s antacid tablets) + GEN (information). RENNIE GEN would be expressed by the Reverend Spooner as GENNIE REN which sounds like JENNY WREN JENNY WREN (wren; bird)
11 Jockey’s weight (5) RIDER (jockey)

RIDER (an object that rests on or astride of another, such as a piece of wire on a balance for fine weighing; weight)

12 Fund rector organised to rebuild church crypt (10) Anagram of (organised to rebuild) FUND RECTOR UNDERCROFT (a crypt or vault).  Neither Chambers nor much on the web suggest that an UNDERCROFT is restricted to a church, but Collins and the Shorter Oxford do give a church crypt as an example of an UNDERCROFT.
13 Gangster’s American bonnet (4) HOOD (hoodlum, violent criminal; gangster) HOOD (a North American term for a car boonet)
16 Agreeable Enid Blyton character (5)

NODDY (a sequence in a filmed interview in which the interviewer is photographed nodding in acknowledgement of what the interviewee is saying;  agreeable)

NODDY (an Enid Blyton charcter, along with his chum Big-Ears)
19 Supporter of Jesus ordering 26 menu (9) Anagram of (ordering) DISCO (entry at 26 down) and MENU NICODEMUS (Saint NICODEMUS was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin who showed favour to [supporter of] Jesus)
20 Set fire to area of trees – balsa, for example (5,4) LIGHT (set fire to) + WOOD (area of trees)

LIGHT WOOD (balsa is corkwood, a tropical American tree (Ochroma lagopus) of the silk-cotton family, with very LIGHT WOOD)

21 What’s a measure of acidity, sucker? (5)

A + PH (a PH number is used to express degrees of acidity or alkalinity in solutions) + IS , hence A PH IS a measure of acidity is the answer to the question posed in the first five words of the clue.

APHIS (a plant-louse [eg greenfly or blackfly], a small homopterous insect that sucks plant juices)

23 Contemptible munitions manufacturer absorbing Siemens (4)

BAE (reference BAE Systems, a munitions manufacturer. Munitions manufacture is just one small part of BAEs activities amongst a much wider portfolio of military equipment and software) containing (absorbing) S (siemens [a derived SI unit, the unit of electrical conductance (symbol S), defined as the reciprocal of ohm]  Siemens with a capital S is a German multinational conglomerate company. It is the largest Europe-based electronics and electrical engineering company and probably competes with BAE in many fields)

BA (S) E

BASE (contemptible)
24 Somehow riles about £1 kitchen appliance (10)

Anagram of (somehow) RILES  containing (about) (I [1] + QUID [pound sterling], together £1)


LIQUIDISER (kitchen appliance)
29 Scoundrel is a rake, but good-hearted (5)

ROUÉ (rake) containing in the centre (hearted) G (good)


ROGUE (scoundrel)
31 One death’s somehow marked by this? (9) Anagram of (somehow) ONE DEATH’S HEADSTONE (gravestone serves as a mark of remembrance of someone’s death)
32 Confederation one found in inclusive church (8)

A (one) contained in (found in) (ALL IN [everything included; inclusive] + CE [Church of England])


ALLIANCE (confederation)
33 Scientist leaving home after bomber (6) B (technically B-, bomber as in B52-bombe, for example) + OFF (leaving) + IN (home) BOFFIN (research scientist)
1 Stay in order that tabloid reporter for example can hack certain celebrities (7) SO (in order that) + JOURNALIST (writer for a newspaper or magazine, the newspaper may be a tabloid) excluding (can hack) A-LIST (top ranked celebrities [in some eyes]) SOJOURN (stay [for a day])
2 Had two abbreviated points in dictionary (5)

(W [west] + N [north], two abbreviated points [of the compass]) contained in (in) OED (Oxford English Dictionary)

O (W N) ED

OWNED (had)
3 One settles up when sportsman loses pounds (5) PLAYER (sportsman) excluding (loses) L (pound[s] sterling) PAYER (one who pays; one settles up)
5 Disappointed to be confronted for a considerable period of time (4-5) LONG (extended in time; considerable period of time) + FACED (confronted) LONG-FACED (dismal-looking; disappointed)
6 Some land captured by camcorder regularly (4) Letters 2, 4, 6 and 8 of (captured … regularly) CAMCORDER ACRE (measure of land; some land)
7 Help with unfinished opera (3) AIDA (opera by Verdi) excluding the final letter (unfinished) A AID (help [with])
8 Denunciations of one involved in deals (7)

I (one) contained in (involved in) TRADES (deals)


TIRADES (long vehement or angry harangues; denunciations)

9 I’m definitel;y not hot on education basics bishop (4) B (bishop) + RRR (the three Rs, READING, [W]RITING and [A]RITHMETIC; education basics) BRRR (imitative of shivering with cold; I’m not hot) – yes, it is in the dictionary (Chambers and The Shorter Oxford)
14 Energy of ducks on speed! (5) (O [zero; duck] + O (zero; duck] giving ducks) + MPH (MILES PER HOUR; speed) OOMPH (vitality; enthusiasm; energy)
15 Lots of old lines essential in speed dating (4) Hidden word in (essential in) SPEED DATING

EDDA (the name of two Scandinavian books, the Elder EDDA, a collection of ancient mythological and heroic songs (9th – 11th century or earlier), and the Younger or ProseEDDA, by Snorri Sturluson (c.1230), mythological stories, poetics and prosody)   EDDA is used commonly in barred crosswords .

17 Artist serving up old portraits finally (5) AGED (old) reversed (serving up; down clue) + S (last letter of [finally] PORTRAITS) DEGAS (reference Edgar DEGAS, [1834 – 1917], French artist)
18 Some revolting rabbit-eyed creature (4) Reversed (revolting) hidden word in (some) RABBIT-EYED YETI (the abominable snowman; creature)
19 Transported into Chile in later Stone Age (9) Anagram of (transported) INTO CHILE

NEOLITHIC (of or relating to the later, more advanced [later], Stone Age)

20 Left part of Europe for country further south (7) L (left) + IBERIA (reference the IBERIAN peninsula, Spain and Portugal; part of Europe) LIBERIA (West African country south and slightly west of  IBERIA.  I worked in LIBERIA for 9 months in the late 1970s and I remember getting a wonderful view of the Straits of Gibraltar on the south western edge of the IBERIAN peninsula  from the plane when I flew home)
22 Ending of rounds to encourage doctor (7) S (last letter of [ending of] ROUNDS) + URGE ON (encourage) SURGEON (an army or naval doctor)
25 State a hut should be rebuilt (4) Anagram of (should be rebuilt) A HUT UTAH (Forty-fifth State admitted to the United States)
26 Company undermining underworld club (5) DIS (a name for Pluto; the infernal world; underworld) + CO (compnay) DISCO (discotheque; club where music for dancing is supplied by CDs, tape, vinyl, mp3 etc)
27 Mock food (5) SCOFF (mock) SCOFF (food)
28 Warrior princess upsetting a former partner (4) AN (a) + EX (former partner) all reversed (upsetting; down clue)

XENA (reference XENA warrior princes, an American–New Zealand supernatural fantasy adventure series that was broadcast from S1995 to 2001.  I don’t think I watched a single episode)

30 Broad measure of acceleration? (3) GAL (girl; broad [{offensive}slang])

GAL (a unit of acceleration, one centimetre per second per second)

16 Responses to “Independent 7946 / Eimi”

  1. Kathryn's Dad says:

    Thanks, Duncan, for the usual super blog.

    I had the same thoughts as you, that it was a relatively straightforward but entertaining puzzle; I know nowt about setting but I imagine that’s not that easy to achieve.

    Always a good range of reference material in an eimi puzzle, with a bit of science (hurrah!) mixed in with the Bible and some mythology. I’m not a big fan of Spoonerism clues, but JENNY WREN really made me laugh, and BRRR and OOMPH were also smiley moments. SOJOURN was my favourite.

    For NODDY, I just took it at face value, because the little man in the red and yellow car nods a lot to show agreement; although your explanation is certainly possible! This also made me smile, since in French, Noddy is Oui-Oui, because when he nods his head to signal ‘yes’ in agreement, it makes his little bell ring. Sweet.

  2. anax says:

    Lovely, accessible puzzle from the boss. And a conundrum. The grid screams theme/nina but I can’t spot it.

  3. crypticsue says:

    Lovely puzzle. Thanks for explaining Noddy – Like K’s D, I just saw it as the little man.

  4. nmsindy says:

    Yes, very pleasing puzzle, not hard at all. Thanks eimi and Duncan. While I’ve always been amused by that TV definition of NODDY, I agree with those comments that it’s not actually used in this puzzle. Favourite clues BRRR and OOMPH. And I wonder how many thought the Labour leader featuring in 1A would be ‘Ed’.

  5. NealH says:

    I completed this even more quickly than yesterday’s, which is unexpected for a Tuesday puzzle. Nevertheless, I very much enjoyed it and was pleased to be able to get the spoonerism with only one crossing letter.

  6. flashling says:

    Well we’ve come to expect themes on Tuesday but like Anax I can’t see anything, two easy ones on the trot? Makes up a bit for the last prize on Saturday by the BannMan which was anything but.

    Great blog as ever Duncan and cheers Ed. for a gentle run out.

    Nice puzzle in the i too by Virgilius/Brendan, well worth 20p for.

  7. Allan_C says:

    Yes, Duncan, I wondered what might be coming later in the week with two easy puzzles in succession. Solved in two passes in 18 minutes, no word finders or anagram solvers required. That being said there were one or two misdirections (to my mind anyway; perhaps I was reading too much into the clues). For instance “Nice rustic” in 4a had me wondering if we had to find a French word for a rustic or countryman. And 1d was a little tricky, finding something with a J in it.
    Agree with you, flashling, about Saturday’s Bannsider – I’ve not finished it yet!

  8. Bertandjoyce says:

    Certainly a quick solve although we did have to check 9d as the only word we could fit in was ‘brer’. We thought 20a was somewhat weak but liked 10a and 1d which made us smile.

    We were pleased we weren’t blogging Saturday’s prize this week although we did eventually finish it with some electronic assistance. However, we have only just finished the ‘cheeky’ Beelzebub on April Fool’s Day! So…… Yesterday’s and today’s puzzles came as a welcome light relief.

    Thanks Duncan and Eimi!

  9. Dormouse says:

    GAL was a new one on me. Never used that when I was doing A-levels in physics and applied maths back in the sixties.

    All these timings are making me feel inferior. If I do a crossword in an hour I think I’m doing well. (But I tend not to do them in a single sitting.)

    Agree about Saturday’s and Beelzebub. Only got about half of the former and by eleven o’clock Sunday night had managed only two clues in the Beelzebub, and if I haven’t got it by then, it doesn’t seem worth continuing. (For a while, I considered that the clues were just random phrases as an April Fool’s joke.)

  10. eimi says:

    The ghost theme seems to have passed everyone by – just think how quick a solve it would have been if you’d spotted it :-)

  11. nmsindy says:

    Dormouse at #9, don’t worry about timings – the most important question to answer about any puzzle IMHO is ‘did you enjoy it?’. Some will be easier than others and it’s of interest to note solving times eg to compare setters but that’s about it.

  12. flashling says:

    Quite agree with NMS whose rankings whilst personal to him do seem to reflect my personal experiences, I guess those who prefer Ximinean will take longer due to grumbling and muttering about the libertarians… Must be a bl**ding obvious theme Eimi cos I still can’t see it, knowing your past I suspect it’s pop music based though.

  13. eimi says:

    Duncan didn’t make a story out of the answers here, but someone else did with some of the Acrosses, such as 1, 4/11/13, 10, 19/”16″/32, 20, 29/11/13, and 31 (wonderfully played by David Morrissey in the most recent BBC adaptation). But I’m glad the theme didn’t interfere with the enjoyment or solving times.

  14. duncanshiell says:

    Regrettably you could probably put CHARLES DICKENS (or many other novelists, composers, artists etc) in the top row of the grid and I would still struggle to recognise the theme! If however, you tried a range of folk musicians, a variety of sports or some fairly well known scientists then there is a chance I might just spot a theme (says he no doubt setting himself up for a fall).

  15. Dormouse says:

    OK, I think I get it now. I did see the BBC version (1998) but had completely forgotten all of the names. Curiously, I had been planning to read the book, but not for a while.

  16. Rorschach says:

    Our Mutual Friend! Of course!

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